Retrofit gets still waters moving

Retrofit gets still waters moving

Primarily a jobshop, Texas-based Maudlin & Son Mfg. provides metal stamping, electrical discharge machining, and abrasive waterjet cutting to petrochemical, aerospace, oil, and shipping companies. Maudlin built its reputation around quality work and o

The Burny 10 LCD controller increased waterjet productivity at Maudlin & Son Mfg. by letting operators alter CAD files and nest shapes at the machine.


Primarily a jobshop, Texas-based Maudlin & Son Mfg. provides metal stamping, electrical discharge machining, and abrasive waterjet cutting to petrochemical, aerospace, oil, and shipping companies. Maudlin built its reputation around quality work and on-time delivery — sometimes within a few hours — according to Kirk Tindall, vice-president of manufacturing.

However, that reputation was in jeopardy because of two unreliable computers running the company's two Intersoll-Rand HS 100 waterjet machines. These machines were often down, and since the controller drivers had to be ordered from Germany, it was common for the equipment to sit idle while customers waited and orders mounted. In addition, when the computers went down, parts were often scrapped.

The gantry framework on the two machines was in great shape, and the company had also recently replaced all of the water pumps. So retrofit appeared to be the answer, but traditional waterjet retrofit packages came up short.

Controllers included with these packages lacked the features Maudlin wanted, such as toughness, improved cutting tolerances, and the ability to make changes to CAD files at the machine. Even though the company used an off-site CAD station for the majority of its designing, a programmable controller at the machine site would maximize operator efficiency.

The retrofit package that met all of Maudlin's needs was from the Burny Division of Cleveland Motion Controls and installed by Plasma Systems, one of Burny's local representatives.

In the retrofit was a Burny 10 LCD shape-cutting motion controller and a new brushless AC-drive-system solution. The Burny controller lets operators quickly make CAD file changes at the machine, program new shapes using the Burny Shape Library, and nest shapes at the machine. Prior to the Burny 10 LCD, and when a CAD-file error occurred, Maudlin redesigned the parts off-site and corrected them on disk, which was then reloaded into the old control.

"When loading a part program now, we can view the shapes as they are being cut and eliminate errors on the screen," says Walter Winzer, shop superintendent. "I watched my operator program an O.D. bolt hole in 1 1 /2 min. Previously, we could only do that off-site using a long process that involved our CAD designers. The time-savings has been tremendous." The Burny 10 LCD also lets operators multitask, cutting parts and loading programs simultaneously to save the company even more time.

After two days of training, Maudlin employees routinely cut 0.031-in.-thick stainless steel and other materials up to 8-in. thick, holding average tolerances of ±.010 in., a 37% improvement. Other materials, from marble and granite to aluminum, plastics, and Styrofoam, averaging between 1 and 2-in.-thick, are cut with comparable speed and precision.

Since the retrofit, waterjet uptime at Maudlin has gone from less than 8 hours to 14 hours per day for an additional 3,000 hours of cutting in the first year. But, perhaps best of all, says the company, was that the package cost 25% less than other retrofits.

The Burny Division of Cleveland Motion Controls
Cleveland
www.cmccontrols.com

TAGS: Features
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